Getting Your Colors to POP! in Seconds (ver. 2)

I recently posted a technique to make your colors pop and really go crazy from Mr. Photoshop Universe Scott Kelby.  I also came across another technique by Michael Rather (Digital Photography Connection) that uses a totally different approach, yet is just as simple.  For the folks that like having several different ways to do something, this is the way for you to go.  You need to be able to use CURVES and change over to LAB color, so Photoshop or a similar program is necessary.  (Hey you PSP Mafia people out there…  does Paint Shop Pro allow for LAB color?)  It gives a slightly different look than the way I posted in the first article, but the results are equally as impressive.  If anyone missed the first article, HERE IS THE DIRECT LINK.   Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer we go!


1.  Open your image and choose IMAGE -> MODE -> LAB COLOR from the menu bar.  Be sure you also change the mode to 16bit if it is not already set to 16bit.  This gives you the best transitions between colors and prevents colors from being clipped.  (8bit = 256 colors, 16bit =65,536 colors).

2.  Create a new CURVES ADJUSTMENT LAYER…  click the middle icon under the layers pallette (circle, half black-half white) to create adjustment layers.

3.  When the curves adjustment comes on the screen, ALT+CLICK on the grid to make it much smaller.

4.  Select Channel A from just above the grid (you ARE in LAB color, right?)

5.  Move the slider in the upper right corner to the left one grid line.

6.  Move the slider in the lower left corner to the right one grid line.  At this point you will see the colors starting to change.  We are not done yet!

7.  Select Channel B from just above the grid and repeat steps 5 and 6 on Channel B.  Voila!

8.  Because this was done on an adjustment layer, you can now make additional adjustments regarding opacity, blend modes, quick masks, etc. to suit your exact needs.

9.  Sit back and enjoy the new colors and marvel at how easy this really was.   Remember to change back to 8bit so you can save a JPEG when you are done.

By the way, this is totally recordable as an action so you can simple do this once, record it, and reuse it whenever you want.  You would start recording right before you jump to LAB Color, and stop recording after step 8.


color pop

Step 1
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Step 2
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Step 3
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Step 4
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Step 5
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Step 6
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color pop


RECOMMENDED READING:  If you like this tutorial, I urge you to check out Scott Kelby’s 7-Point System for Adobe Photoshop CS3 (works for other versions of CS as well).


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